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May 15: Engineering Grads Land Top Jobs in Financial Sector


Chriss Swaney                   

Carnegie Mellon Engineering Grads
Land Top Jobs in Financial Sector

Barbuto and TsangPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Ester Barbuto and Jessica Tsang are trendsetters. The two undergraduate chemical engineering seniors join the growing ranks of engineering students heading to Wall Street.

Last year, 10 percent of the university's graduating engineers opted for jobs in the competitive financial sector compared with just one percent in 2003, according to the university's career placement center.  Both Barbuto and Tsang will be employed in market risk analysis at the Asset Management Department for Goldman Sachs in New York City.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase my problem solving skills, and to show how diverse an engineering education really is," said Barbuto. The Hopewell Township graduating senior is a past president of the campus chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.  "Carnegie Mellon's rigorous academic demands simulate the real working world and that's one of our greatest skill sets."        

Tsang, who grew up in New York City, said she's happy to be going home to a great job. "I wanted to land a job where I could make a difference and use not just my mathematical and engineering skills, but all my communication and teamwork expertise," said Tsang, who praised the university's senior project classes for instilling the importance of teamwork.

Both women's comments jibe with recent reports showing strong educational and professional surges by women.

For example, in high schools nationwide, three out of five National Honor Society members are girls. In addition, female college graduates - less than half of all graduates a decade ago - now outnumber their male counterparts in most industrialized countries, according to a recent 453-page report released by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 

"We see more women with engineering and other technical backgrounds heading to the financial sector because the career support structure is much more developed, and there is less of a 'macho environment,'" said Sylvia Ann Hewlett, one of six-co-authors of a new study, "The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering and Technology." The study is the fourth in a multiyear project by a task force of 42 global companies. It focuses on women with degrees in traditionally male-dominated fields, who occupy a surprisingly large 41 percent of the lower echelon corporate jobs for scientists, engineers and technologists.

Carnegie Mellon career center counselors report that recruiters consistently tap engineering students for interviews because of their broad skill sets.

"From day one, our students are learning how to innovate, work in teams and adapt to a myriad of situations. That's why we see our engineers succeed not only in traditional fields, but also in business, finance, law and medicine," said Kurt Larsen, assistant dean of undergraduate studies at Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering.


Pictured above are Ester Barbuto (L) and Jessica Tsang (R).